His wife of thirty years

gvergara

Senior Member
Español
Hi:

When you say His wife of thirty years is about to leave him, what do you exactly mean?

a) His wife, who is 30 years old, or
b) His wife, to whom he has been married for 30 years.

Thanks in advance, bye

Gonzalo
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  • roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    I would go with b, but you could make it to mean "a"

    His wife of the age of thirty years, is about to leave him (Kind of akward, but one can understand)
    His thirty year old wife is about to leave him (Most natural)
    His wife aged thirty is about to leave him (UK)
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I would go with b, but you could make it to mean "a"

    His wife of the age of thirty years, is about to leave him (Kind of akward, but one can understand)
    His thirty year old wife is about to leave him (Most natural)
    His wife aged thirty is about to leave him (UK)
    I'm sorry to have to disagree, but "wife/husband of [many] years" is an idiom implying [many] years of marriage. :) For example, look at the primary hits from "wife of thirty years" in Google.

    Edit: Thinking about it, the years need not be "many". You could say, in the same idiom, "his wife of one year." This has no potential for ambiguity.
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Hey Old Novice, I am saying it is "b", but you can change his original sentence to make it mean that his wife is thirty years old. Look at my examples that I provided. :).
     
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